For most of his career he played for the Chicago Cubs, starting as a 21-year-old rookie in 1902. Tinker was an average hitter, despite usually hitting well against pitcher Christy Mathewson, but a speedy runner, stealing an average of 28 bases a season and even stealing home twice in one game on July 28, 1910. The shortstop excelled at fielding, often leading the National League in a number of statistical categories. During his decade with the Cubs, they went to the World Series four times.
Tinker is perhaps best known as the shortstop in the "Tinker to Evers to Chance" double play combination immortalized in the poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," written by the twenty-eight-year old New York Evening Mail newspaper columnist Franklin Pierce Adams in July 1910. Yet several years earlier, on September 14, 1905, Tinker and Evers had engaged in a fistfight on the field because Evers had taken a cab and left his teammates behind in the hotel lobby. Tinker and Evers did not speak to one another again for 33 years, until they were asked to participate in the radio broadcast the 1938 World Series (Cubs versus Yankees), where they were tearfully reunited.
Tinker's incessant salary demands got him traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1912. After a year playing and managing the Reds, Tinker jumped to the Federal League and managed the Chicago Whales until 1916 when he was back, briefly, with the Cubs.
Tinker ended his career in Florida, managing, scouting, and dabbling in real estate. He ran the Orlando Gulls in the Florida State League. Tinker Field, a stadium in the shadow of the Citrus Bowl, is named for him. Tinker was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946 along with Evers and Chance and 8 other players/managers. Induction ceremonies for the group occurred in 1947. He died in Orlando, Florida on his 68th birthday of complications from diabetes. Tinker (1948) was the last surviving member of the trio (Frank Chance (1924) and Joe Tinker (1947). Third-baseman Harry Steinfeldt died in 1914. His interment was located in Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery.
- Ashley, Sally (1986). F.P.A.: The Life and Times of Franklin P. Adams. Beaufort. p. 65
- [http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/tinkejo01.shtml Baseball-Reference.com].
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Baseball-reference.com – Major league career managerial statistics
- baseballhalloffame.org – Hall of Fame biography page
- The Deadball Era
|Cincinnati Reds Manager
|Chicago Cubs Manager